You probably think getting rid of bed bugs can’t be as simple as four steps, but the fact is, it works! Most people fail because they take shortcuts and don’t have the patience; take time to understand these steps, do them properly, and you’ll see results!
A common misconception is that hiring an exterminator will make it easy for you. However, the truth is, you’ll still be doing all the prep work, which is often the most challenging part of the process. Can you guess who the exterminator blames when treatment doesn’t work? You, and your prep work, so read that contract carefully, it may be easier to do it yourself!
You know it’s time to get rid of your bed bugs when they burst open at the slightest pressure.
This is a bed bug egg and they are very sticky. Your first round of treatment may not kill eggs and is why you need to re-treat your home a few weeks after the first application.
This black hard material is bed bug poop. The fecal matter (dried blood) should stop appearing once you have eliminated the infestation.
People dealing with infestations have been sharing their success stories with me for more than a decade. Drawing on these successes, I’ve put together the following four easy steps to get rid of bed bugs. Each stage contains printable detailed instructions.
1. Clean Cracks and Linens
Clean every nook and cranny with the wand of your vacuum; it seems easy, but people forget hiding spots such as screw holes, gaps in baseboards, and cracks in the wall. Here is our list of places they like to hide).
Clean all your linens, even the teddy bears, everything in hot water and dry them on high heat if clothes permit. Do NOT take the clothes to the laundromat or you risk creating a problem for someone else.
Here is our list of treatment preparation steps you should follow.
2. Bug Proof Mattress & Make Trap
Get your mattress and box spring off of the floor by placing them on a frame. Place the legs in a climb-up protector with bed bug powder and double-sided tape. Use bed bug traps to catch anything trying to climb into your bed. A protective mattress cover that seals completely will trap and eventually starve any bugs inside your mattress.
3. Spray Secret Bed Bug Powder
Okay, it’s not a secret, but most professional exterminators would rather you not know about bed bug powder. These instructions show you how to make and spray your powder. The main ingredient is Diatomaceous Earth (DE), a natural, inexpensive pesticide that you can buy at your local store for less than $15! Unfortunately, many pest control companies rebrand and sell it as an ‘organic’ solution with a ridiculous price markup.
4. Repeat Treatment
To kill all the bugs in their various stages of development, you MUST retreat your home 3 to 4 weeks after your first treatment. Single treatments may kill the adults, but you’re left with another infestation when the eggs hatch.
Some claim they eliminated their infestation in two treatments, but play it safe, save yourself a ton of frustration, and stick with three treatments.
Follow the guides above, get the right mattress cover, apply the natural pesticide, and repeat the process twice 3 to 4 weeks apart.
Below are the types of treatment professionals use and their associated costs.
Also, check out Tom’s success story and how this worked for him, and, what mistakes he made that you’ll want to avoid!
You’ve got this!
Avoid these Four Extermination Mistakes
Types of Treatment Used by Exterminators & Cost
These are the more expensive methods used by exterminators to eliminate bed bugs.
Steam Treatment – $1,500 average
The average cost of steam treatment is $1,500. Treatment can also include a chemical spray such as d-Phenothrin, a non-systemic insecticide effective on contact. Others may use a mist, thermal fog, aerosol, or ULV application in place of spaying.
There are concerns about a bed bug’s ability to detect insecticide. As a result, companies may use Chlorfenapyr, a non-repellent that remains active for a short time.
If you’re going to buy a steam cleaner, we suggest you purchase one with the following features:
- Low vapor and high-temperature steam.
- Dry steam (it will still be damp. Air out after to prevent mold).
- Use a machine that has a continuous flow to avoid “reheat” downtime.
- Steam should not be too powerful so that bed bugs are not blown deeper into cracks.
- Use a steamer with multiple jet steam heads.
During steam treatment, you need to be as close to the bugs as possible, moving about 1 inch per 10 seconds. It only takes a few centimeters to decrease the temperature to a nonlethal dose, so move the steam head should at a rate of 30cm every 10-15 seconds.
Start with the mattress making sure to treat the seams, labels, and any other attachments. Next, move to the chairs and sofas, taking care with cushions, seams, and buttons. Pull-out beds should be treated just like a mattress. Continue to surrounding areas and move out from there.
Do not steam electrical outlets as the steamer may make contact with wires.
Here is more on Steam Treatment and success stories from our visitors.
Heat Treatment – $3,500 average
The average cost of heat treatment is $3,500. Treatment quickly kills bed bugs by exposing them to temperatures greater than 45°c / 113°f. The heat needs to reach that temperature as fast as possible, or infestations may scatter into the next room or floor above.
When using heat to control an infestation, please remember that some material is more resistant to heat than others, such as your mattress or couch. For example, a thick mattress may prevent heat from penetrating the infestation inside.
Warning: This is not something you want to try yourself! Some items such as aerosol cans may explode at high temperatures. The temperature which kills bedbugs is said to be 114 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, this temperature may damage photographs and other heat-sensitive materials.
*Note that Amazon has a bed bug heat treatment chamber if you want to do this yourself.
Cryonite Treatment – $500 per room
The average cost of cold treatment is $500 per room. It is a chemical-free, non-toxic solution to eliminating bed bugs that may have become resistant to pesticides.
Cryonite looks like an oxygen tank on wheels with a nozzle; carbon dioxide snow freezes the inside of bed bugs on contact. Death occurs as snow crystals land on the bug and converts to CO2 gas, a reaction that causes the water in a bed bug’s cell to crystallize.
Freezing is poisonless and has the following advantages of other methods:
- No need to evacuate the area
- In kitchens, pest control can happen while food prep continues
- It can be used on surfaces in direct contact with food
- Hotels can rent as soon as treatment is complete
- No chemical smell or dust to attach to surfaces
- No cleaning after treatment is necessary (but it can’t hurt)
- Hospitals and nursing homes can function during treatment
You’ll still have to bag clothing, wash with hot water (120+), clean, and vacuum before treatment, but the results are well worth it.
Fumigation Treatment – $5,000
The average cost to fumigate your home is around $5,000. A canister (aka smoke bomb) generates large amounts of smoke filled with Permethrin Synthetic Pyrethroid Insecticide to get rid of the infestation.
Once the smoke bomb is activated, you will not be able to return to the property for at least four hours (each product has a different time). In addition, if used in one apartment and not sealed correctly, extermination may cause the infestation to move to the adjoining apartment.
Integrated Pest Management Cost (IPM) – $100 per month
The average cost of Integrated Pest Management Cost (IPM) is about $100 per month, which is a monthly fee for monitoring bed bugs. Many professional pest control companies will combine the treatments above with an IPM plan that involves setting up bed bug detectors that alert the company of a reoccurring infestation.
Inspection – $125
An inspection will cost about $125. The accuracy depends on the technician’s training and experience. There are several stories where nothing turned up during inspection until a bed bug sniffing dog was used (which costs about $350).
No More Bedbugs! My Success Story
by “Tom 1303”
Four months after moving into my new home I noticed my feet had little bites on them which I dismissed as chigger & mosquito bites. We searched the house and found bed bugs.
My wife and I panicked which is the first thing you should not do. We went to war! We purchased an air mattress after throwing out the infested one, cleaned everything, bought glue pads for our four post bed and waited a month. My son started showing bites, and we realized the infestation moved to his room.
We gave up and hired an exterminator to get rid of the bed bugs once and for all. He came out and treated both rooms. It didn’t work so we had the exterminator re-treat. Still didn’t work and the infestation spread.
I decided to check on heat treatment and found it was going to cost about $3,500. So that was out.
I called Terminix who said it would run $1,200 and they would finance it but only offered a 30-day guarantee. If the treatment failed and we didn’t discover it for 30 days, then we would be stuck paying a monthly fee for nothing, so we looked elsewhere.
I did a lot of research and ended up buying insecticide for around $100.00 which you mix with water. I also went online and purchased a Steam cleaner for 90 bucks at Walmart. (be sure it gets over 140 degrees).
We lifted the couches and sprayed underneath, the box springs, mattress, floor boards and cracks. We formed a moat of the spray around all our beds which dries.
We then bought some Diatomaceous Earth from Ace hardware (food grade) and spread it underneath the bed between the mattress and box spring. In the cracks of the bed frames. In the electrical outlets (took off the face plate and put it in the hole of the wall around the outlet *be careful*), and anywhere else bed bugs might hide.
A week later our steam cleaner arrived, and we steamed everything! The bed bugs were dead!
My family is “bite free” and sleeping well. I feel the bed bug dust and steam cleaner are helping me get rid of them one battle at a time.
I will never laugh when I hear someone say they are afraid of bed bugs ever again. I had the same fears as all of you have had. I was scared someone would see a bug crawl on me at work, or I would bring them to work and infest the office.
I know it feels like you will not make it through, but trust me, if you keep at it and be persistent you can kill them them.
I wish you all the best of luck!